Archive for February, 2015

Shooting From the Corner: Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks

Posted by    |    February 28th, 2015 at 7:14 pm

*sigh*

—-

—-

Look, I know one call doesn’t decide a game. I know Texas has to convert more opportunities at the rim earlier in the game. I know that teams get home cooking, Kansas more than most. I know all of this. And yet,

FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

This game was probably Texas’ season, their last best chance at making the NCAA Tournament. A road win in Lawrence – where nobody else has won all season – would have basically put Texas in the tournament, given this squad a chance to play with the big boys, and maybe they get hot and do some damage. It may not be that likely, but at least they’d have the opportunity. But no, it didn’t happen. This terrible call was likely the final dagger in Texas’ March Madness aspirations. I’m well aware of the bigger picture, that Texas is probably no better than a Round of 32 casualty and that Rick Barnes is probably secretly packing up some of his office when he gets back to Austin, but it still sucks. It still hurts to lose to Kansas, especially in this manner. It’s a gut shot in a game I didn’t think I’d have to worry about being invested in.

Funny thing: Texas has probably played better ball in last four games than in most of Big 12 play. Might come out of that 0-4.

— Kevin Flaherty (@KFlaherty247) March 1, 2015

Kevin’s right. Texas has been playing better the last 4 games, but not enough better that it counted in the win column. This team is the closest to ‘good’ it can possibly be without actually winning a game, they’re the basketball equivalent of trying to get to 0 by dividing a number by 2 over and over. They held Kansas to 36% shooting(1 for 8 from beyond 3), set a school record with 14 blocks, and had the lead for just over 20 minutes of the game.

They had plays like this:

They had blocks like this:

They had Demarcus Holland and Kendal Yancy go a combined 5/9 from 3. And here we are, another L on the record. Sigh.

Positives

  • Isaiah Taylor was a menace to Kansas today. He was en route to a triple-double at halftime and ended up with 17 points, 8(!) assists, 6 rebounds, and only 2 turnovers in an effort that can only be described as Peak Zay. I think he blew past Frank Mason again as I wrote this. He had a couple of questionable decisions, but when he’s playing at this level you’ll take that every time.
  • Kendal Yancy is for real, y’all. This is no longer an aberration, it’s bordering on a permanent ascension. He’s playing with confidence, poise, and control.11 points, 3 assists, only one turnover. Defenses have to play him honestly, which is a nice change from the beginning of the year(or most of last year). His junior season should be a fun one.
  • Prince Ibeh put in a solid 17 minutes of work for Texas, which was sorely needed due to the whistle-happy refs saddling Jonathan Holmes, Cameron Ridley, and Connor Lammert with as many fouls as they could stack up. He played under control and ended up with 4 blocks on the game. He made the most of his opportunity today.
  • Rick Barnes pulled a lot of the right levers today. His inbounds plays attacked Kansas’ weaknesses, his rotation was solid for the most part, and he kept the game at a tempo & style that suited his team. If he’s going down this season, he’s going out swinging.

The Texas Longhorns Memorial(™) Mixed Bag Category

  • Demarcus Holland had a good game shooting and his defense was his usual solid effort, working his way over the top of screens and sticking close to his man every time I watched him. The reason he’s in this category is because his dribble was problematic again. If he tightened it up, his lane penetration would be better, he’d have better results at the rim, and his turnovers would drop. That should be his biggest focus in the off-season, if he sorts it out he could be all-conference next year in more than just defense.

Negatives

  • Jonathan Holmes is lost, offensively. He was 1/7 today, making him 7/30 from the field since the tip against Oklahoma State. He’s a drain on the offense if he doesn’t figure it out, but I don’t see how you sit him at this point in the year. It sucks watching him miss shots because I know he wants to help the team more than just about anybody.

Texas is now 6-10 in conference with 2 games left in the regular season, and any faint glimmer of March Madness has to include a win Monday night against Baylor. Tip is 6pm Central on ESPNU.

Nothing Means Anything: A Q&A with Rock Chalk Talk

Posted by    |    February 27th, 2015 at 1:36 pm

A month ago, I agreed to do a Q&A with SBNation sister site Rock Chalk Talk and it went pretty well, so well that they asked to do another one. Let’s just say I was a bit less enthusiastic this time.

BWG: *slowly turns down Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘Hurt’*

Hey, so, I’m supposed to come up with 5 questions for this Q&A, I guess…so…

*lights menthol cigarette, dejectedly inhales*

I mean…

*slowly exhales*

So, that Perry Ellis is something, huh?

RCT: Sure is, ain’t he?

BWG: Have you ever wondered why we’re here? I mean, I know there’s a point to life, but sometimes it just seems like we’re just cogs in a big machine and nothing we do really matters. You grow up, you get out of school, you work until you’re too old to really travel, and then you die…probably alone. Life’s so fragile, a successful virus clinging to a speck of mud, suspended in endless nothing. Any way, how’s the conference championship race working out for you?

RCT: It an interesting experience this year. For example, I never thought I’d ever thank Scott Drew for something his team did on the basketball court. And the extra awareness this tough conference race has given me towards other teams this year lead to this gem I thought of yesterday:

Scott Drew, happy sloth
Jayhawks far and wide thank you
To the shock of all.

This year’s been weird times…

BWG: I shaved my head last night after watching ‘Fight Club’ for the 7th time in a row, then I punched myself in the face.

*extinguishes menthol on my forearm*

It’s the first time I’ve felt pleasure in a week. I’m sure it will fade soon, everything fades eventually. From the time we’re born, we’re starting to fade into obscurity & irrelevance, destined to be forgotten. Do you think you’ll see much zone defense out of Texas in Lawrence, or mostly man?

RCT: To zone, or not to zone, that is the question….

Sometimes I zone while watching things. Usually uninteresting things, but not always. Like one time, I completely lost focus while watching Shark Week, and the scene changed from a guy sitting on a boat to being attacked while underwater in a cage. IN A CAGE, MAN!!  I mean, who does that crazy stuff?

Dude, what’s in these brownies?  I just ate one, and now I’m hungry. Got any Funyuns?

BWG: I went to the SPCA to watch puppies play in the grass. They frolicked around, nipping at each other, barking with the delight of new eyes learning about the world for the first time. They’re so full of hope, so eager to get out into the world and thrive. What’s it like to have hope? How does it feel, thinking that every year is a new chance to end the season in anything other than a yawning diaspora of melancholy & inevitable solitude?

RCT: Dude, that’s really deep. But I don’t know this “hope” thing that you speak of. I mean, we know that KU basketball is going to be good every year, and I’ve been a Kansas football fan and Royals baseball fan for so long that any hope I have at the beginning of a season has been conditioned out of me.  I mean, after getting punched in the nuts so many times right out of the gate, it wouldn’t take Pavlov’s dogs too long to learn to cower in the corner every time a season starts, right?

BWG: I’m thinking of getting a tattoo of Brooks Hatlen on my chest. I’ll get it in reverse, that way when I’m spending my usual 6 hours a day staring into the mirror I can think of the person I feel closest to in this world. I’ve captured a grackle & named him Jake. He bites me when I pet him, and it’s the most rewarding interaction I have with any living thing any more. What’s your prediction for the game Saturday?

RCT: Someone will win, someone will lose. Some will give cheers, and some will give boos. Or is that booze? I don’t really care at this point. Something about a ball and a hoop, and some guys in bright colors running around and throwing things. The only thing I know for sure is that there will be no chicken-winging involved. Too bad, because chicken wings sound really good right now…..

Shooting From the Corner: Texas Longhorns at West Virginia Mountaineers

Posted by    |    February 24th, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Who’s excited for NIT Madness?

The Texas Longhorns are now incapable of posting a winning conference record after losing to the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown 71-64. Texas drops to 6-9 in the conference and plants itself firmly on the bubble for the rest of the season. It’s fitting that the WVU crowd spent the last 10 seconds of the game chanting ‘N-I-T’ at Texas, because that’s about where Texas seems destined to head at the end of this season.

.@Bitterwhiteguy TWO BLOGS ENTER ONE BLOG LEAVES TWO BLOGS ENTER ONE BLOG LEAVES

— Smoking Musket (@SmokingMusket) February 25, 2015

@SmokingMusket Musket Blaster

— El Diablo Blanco (@Bitterwhiteguy) February 25, 2015

There’s not much more to say about this team or its season, but you’re here so let’s get through this.

Positives

  • Well, nobody died.
  • OK, Demarcus Holland had a solid offensive game, scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting. It’s approximately the 14th game in a row where a random guard has a great offensive showing in a loss. I’m choosing to ignore his attempts at breaking the press because I’m out of blood pressure meds.
  • Texas shot 53% from the floor, which is pretty good.
  • The team busted its ass all game. Sometimes it was literally busting its ass on the floor – like on the last press effort that led to the final WVU dagger – but the effort is still there. The team hasn’t given up…yet.

The Texas Longhorns Memorial(™) Mixed Bag Category

  • Isaiah Taylor’s first half was bad; 4 turnovers, 2 fouls before the first TV timeout, and some bad decisions with the ball. His second half was better; 11 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 0 turnovers. In the second half he was good enough that Huggy Bear went zone, which is a Moral Victory that we can totally redeem for a free pack of menthols next time we’re in West Virginia.
  • While we’re at it, basically the whole team was a mixed bag tonight. 12 turnovers in a half will wreck any positive momentum you’re attempting to create with 73.5% shooting. Seriously, they shot 74% for the half and were down by 18 at one point. That’s ridiculous.

Negatives

  • Oh, let’s start with this:

Here what got Jonathan Holmes‘ ejected. https://t.co/54ESZHBLQd

— William Wilkerson (@WVWilkerson) February 25, 2015

I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Holmes for a long time and I’ve been rooting for him since he came to campus. He’s dealt with more ups & downs than most any Texas basketball player in the last 17 years. That said, it’s time to admit that he’s kind of an asshole on the court. He gets more deserved technicals, gets in more on-court scraps, and ends up beefing with opponents far too often. I’m not saying he should be a wallflower, but there’s a difference between being aggressive/assertive and being a problem for your team. If he was putting up 17/9 every night, he’d get more slack, but as it stands right now he’s an issue in more ways than one. I’m not going to pin this on the team’s struggles because he’s been like this for awhile, it just doesn’t get a lot of notice if he’s not putting his elbow in somebody’s throat. There’s a good chance he gets suspended for the Kansas game, which is an even bigger issue than tonight. It’s a brain-dead play, and something a senior should know better than to do.

  • Myles Turner got 8 minutes in the first half, which makes sense because why would you possibly want one of your better passers & scorers on the court to stem a run? Dear Rick Barnes: your season – and perhaps your Texas career – is circling the drain. Maybe play the good guy more early in the game.
  • Texas found yet another way to lose; the turnovers were big(arguably the primary reason), but it figures that they wait until near the end of the season to lose by way of poor free throw shooting. 16/23 is OK, but missing the front end of 1&1s and timely misses kept them from making the game even more uncomfortable for the home crowd.

The end result is that Texas is staring at it’s second 3-game losing streak with a visit to their personal house of horrors, Allen Fieldhouse, looming on Saturday. Oh, and the Kansas Jayhawks will have been chewing glass all week after losing to their rivals. So that game should be fun. Tip is at 4pm on ESPN.

Longhorn Network’s Black History Month QB Round Table Preview

Posted by    |    February 24th, 2015 at 11:54 am

Hook ’em, gents.

Texas Longhorns @ West Virginia Mountaineers Basketball Preview

Posted by    |    February 24th, 2015 at 9:53 am

Night gathers, and now my bubble watch begins.

BUBBLEWATCHMAGEDDON 2015 is officially ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. After Texas dropped yet another Big 12 tilt, the Longhorns have now officially entered bubble watch territory. It’s dark and full of terrors. Here’s your friendly reminder that this team was once ranked 6th in the nation. And have gone 1-10 against RPI Top 50 teams.

But hey, lookit! That one win was against Texas’ opponent tonight: the West Virginia Mountaineers. Good thing, too. Even if this game is a roadie, Texas has had recent historical success against Bob Huggins’ bunch.

West Virginia is built similar to Texas. They have a really good point guard / big man combo in Juwan Staten and Devin Williams, then surround those two with a few fathoms of plus athletes that cannot shoot. The Mountaineers make their living offensively by crashing the glass and forcing the ball into the hoop with mind bullets. Defensively, West Virginia is suffocating, but not without sieves. The one key difference between Texas and West Virginia: the Longhorns make their living preventing you from taking good shots, while the Mountaineers turn you over before you can get that shot off at all.

Oh, the other key difference: West Virginia sports a healthy 21-6, 9-5 record, trending up after back-to-back wins against ranked opponents (vs. Kansas, @ OK State). The Mountaineers have a tough back-end (@ Baylor, @ Kansas, vs. OK State) and will surely be looking at this imploding Texas team as its easiest remaining potential victory.

Finally, the Mountaineers have a bench guy named BillyDee Williams. You can’t make this stuff up.

Starters

PG – Juwan Staten (5′ 11″ 185 lb)

G – Gary Browne (6′ 1″, 195 lb)

G – Daxter Miles Jr (6′ 3″, 185 lb)

F – Jonathan Holton (6′ 7″, 220 lb)

C – Devin Williams (6′ 9″, 255 lb)

Key Reserves

Guards – Jevon Carter, Jaysean Paige, Tarik Phillip

Bigs – Nathan Adrian, Elijah Macon, BillyDee Williams

Keys to the Game

Texas needs a win. It pounded the Mountaineers in Austin. Take that recipe and add some tweakable improvements for sucessball. Throw in two dashes of whatever. Go for the power regulator in the north tower.

Or, you know, the NIT is a dance for sorta cool kids, too.

Gametime is 6pm on ESPN2. Hook ’em.